Jun 21, 2010

The Secret to Social Security Is to Appreciate the Pleasure of Being Terribly Deceived

In a an article called 7 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Savings, Emily Brandon of USA News states, "Social Security is one guaranteed income stream that most retirees receive."

This was my comment along with some retirement quotes that I posted after the article:

    Your comment "Social Security is one guaranteed income stream that most retirees receive" is totally absurd!

    This reminds me of an Oscar Wilde quote: "The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived."

    How can you say that the American Social Security System is a guaranteed retirement income stream?

    Even winning the lottery may seem like a safer bet.

    The Social Security Administration, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t have any funds in trust or investment accounts, such as stocks, bonds or savings accounts.

    The Canadian Government Pension Plan (CPP), on the other hand, does and I still don't consider the CPP a guaranteed source of retirement income.

    The entire American Social Security System is actually a giant Ponzi-type pay-as-you-go scheme that takes the payroll taxes of Americans who are still working and distributes it to American retirees.

    Individuals who promote similar "retirement plans" are charged and sent to jail once convicted.

    Interestingly, it’s OK for the American government to run such a Ponzi scheme.

    CATO Institute researcher William Shipman noted in a project, “Retiring With Dignity”:

    “Any surplus is not saved or invested for pensioners. Those funds are borrowed by the federal government to pay current operating expenses and replaced with government bonds. The federal government lends itself the excess in return for an interest-paying bond, an IOU that it issues to itself .... The funds are not invested for the benefit of present or future retirees.”

    What a brilliant idea, having the government borrow money from itself and issue IOUs to itself, promising to pay it back sometime in the future as retirement income to its citizens!

    This would be okay if the American government in itself wasn't so largely in debt that it can be considered bankrupt big time.

    So, would you trust an IOU from someone or an entity that is bankrupt big time?

    I still find it amazing that Americans are in denial that there is a problem with their Social Security System.

    Fact is, sooner or later there is going to be a massive restructuring of the system and Americans are going to find out that they have no Social Security, or very little, to rely on for a retirement income.

    The safest retirement income may be to have a retirement job, if they are still healthy enough to work.

    I semi-retired when I was 35 and had a net worth of minus $30,000.

    Even though I have worked less than half of my adult life, I can retire comfortably.

    The reason is that once I started earning even a modest income, I started saving over 40 percent, because I have never ever placed any confidence in government pension plans to guarantee a retirement income for me. My retirement plan, by the way, still involves some work.

    It was J.P. Getty who said, "People who don't respect money don't have any."

    This, along with relying on the government for a retirement income, precisely explains why so many Americans and Canadians will be broke in retirement.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 125,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

Jun 10, 2010

Retirement Planning - People Who Are Changing Their Saving Money Ways

This posting recently appeared in the Reporter Connection

    Looking For People Ages 50+ Who Are Changing Their Money Ways

    Submitted By: Katrina Hunt
    Title: Freelance Writer
    Media Outlet: Personal Finance Magazine
    Company: Meredith Publishing

    I'm working on a piece for a personal finance magazine co-published by Principal.

    We are looking for singles or couples ages 50-plus who are changing their retirement savings strategy as they see retirement coming on the horizon.

    Maybe you've ramped up your savings, or cut your spending, but we're looking to interview and photograph people whose new habits or life experiences could provide insights for other pre-retirees.

Below is my submission.

    TO: Katrina Hunt, Personal Finance Magazine
    FR: Ernie Zelinski

    Question 1: Based on the above, what do you have to offer? Give me a brief pitch below.

    Answer: I have never had a budget and I have never had a written "retirement plan" but I am sure that I will be okay in retirement.

    I didn't start saving for retirement until I was 42 and I am 60 now.

    After living under the so-called poverty line for several years, and once I finally started making some money, I started saving 40 to 50 percent of my income.

    That is why I have no sympathy for baby boomers who made great money and haven't saved anything for retirement.

    As I initially stated in my international bestseller "The Joy of Not Working", money is actually quite easy to handle. Indeed, there are only two secrets.

    The first secret is: Spend less than you make.

    If this doesn't work for you, then the second secret is definitely for you:

    Make more than you spend.

    That's all there is to money.

    Question 2: How have you changed your retirement savings strategy?

    Answer: Now that I am close to 61 and have a little nest egg, I have actually started spending more money that I used to.

    My retirement savings strategy, however, is to save more but also make a lot more money.

    See My Retirement Plan on The Retirement Cafe

    Part of my strategy and retirement planning resources involves spending money on my personal education and learning more about internet marketing and even writing and publishing so that I can continue making even more money that I have been making, allowing me to save more.

    I spent over $4,000 for two courses by two of the top Internet Marketing Gurus in the world and I know this will pay off with a great earnings which lead to great savings.

    In one of my books I state, "Your Prosperity Will Grow to the Extent That You Do."

    I also state, "Try to Spend More on Your Career Training and Personal Development than on Your Next Hairstyle."

    Question 3: What was the catalyst for this change?

    Answer: Even though I have a nice nestegg, I have decided to create more income and more savings for myself because I don't want to be poor as I get older. I live in a cold climate and I want to have the funds to go to Hawaii for 2 or 3 months a year.

    Question 4: What new strategies have been working for you so far, and-or which ones have not?

    Answer: All my strategies are doing just fine.

    Last Question: Anything else you`d like to add?

    Answer: J.P. Getty said, "People who don't respect money don't have
    any." This is an important quote for retirement.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 125,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

Jun 1, 2010

Retirement Coaches - Reinventing the Wheel?

I recently received this e-mail:

    --- From: Arnie A
    Subject: Retirement - reinventing the wheel
    To: success101coach [ at ] yahoo.com

    Mr. Ernie Zelinski,

    I am 68 years old and am looking forward to phasing into retirement. For about the last year, I have been researching out information on the transformation into the next chapter of my life. Much to my astonishment (and as you point out) there is almost nothing written about the "how to's"; but a significant quantity on the financial aspects of it.

    I have talked to any number of sources including physiatrists (two) that specialize in senior citizens (who in fact said if I find anything let them know) to searching the internet. I initially found How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free and was most impressed with something I could relate to and get my teeth into. I searched for more info and though I have found any number of other books - I have not found anything that effectively delves
    into the transitional aspect as well as you do.

    That leads me to the point of this e-mail - that I would like an opportunity to chat with you to discuss the possibility of making presentations to audiences specifically along the basis of your book. I have been astounded to find there is so little assistance/guidance for people who wish to make this transition [and experience Fun Things to Do in Retirement ] and not have to re-invent the wheel. I became a recruiter because I enjoy helping and working with people - and my wife who was a teacher at one point is also interested in doing this.

    I would very much appreciate it, if you could find some convenient time that I may call you to discuss this further. I have attached my resume, so you can might relate to what I have done and possibly the qualifications I would hope I possess.


    Arnie A.
This was my reply:
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Ernie Zelinski
    To: arnie
    Subject: Re: Retirement - reinventing the wheel

    Hello Arnie:

    In reply to your e-mail, just to let you know that I don't have that much interest in getting involved with anyone in retirement seminars to help people experience what I am writing about in my new book The Joy of Being Retired: 365 Reasons Why You Will Love Retirement.

    Although people may well need non-financial, transitional retirement seminars, most people don't think they need them for happiness after midlife.

    That's where the problem begins. If you sell people what they want (even if they don't need what they want), you can make a fortune. If you try to sell people, what they need, you can go broke.

    There are many personal retirement coaches that have been trained by two retirement institutes including the following:

    Retirement Coach Institute

    Career Coach Institute:

    But from what I can gather from a teleseminar I did for a group of retirement coaches, not too many are making a good living, simply because most people don't think that they need guidance in the transitional aspects of retirement [ and Reasons to Retire Early ].

    Having said that, three or four retirement seminar presenters have contacted me to let me know that they are recommending How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free to the seminar attendees at the few seminars that they give each year.

    Just a note that a prominent financial organization in the U.S. has recently purchased 3,750 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free for its sales reps and may soon be testing the book by having a special print run of 1,000 to 5,000 copies with the company's logo on the cover to give to its baby boomer clients.

    If these baby boomer clients like the book, the financial organization will eventually purchase 50,000 to 100,000 copies of the book with its logo on the cover to give to its clients. This financial organization has asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement, however, so that its competitors don't get wind of its marketing strategy at this time.

    I am hopeful this deal will develop but at the same time I am well aware of how negative financial advisors are and how they may resent the subtitle "Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor."

    For the record, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is self-published because even my publisher Ten Speed Press (along with 35 other American and British publishers) turned it down. Ten Speed Press, however, did agree to distribute it for me with their imprint on it. In the end, this turned out great for me because I now make about 4 or 5 times as much money as authors who have the major publishers publish retirement books for them.

    In the mean time I am just concentrating on marketing of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free on the Internet (with viral marketing such as the attached free E-book). I know that it is a good book and I intend to sell 500,000 copies eventually.

    So long for now,

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    Author of the Bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 125,000 copies sold and published in 8 foreign languages)
    and the International Bestseller The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)